Five recent Urban Fantasies I've read have a heroine either coming into or receiving her powers following a brutal attack.
Greywalker - beating/attempted murder
Wraith - rape/attempted murder
Scent of Shadows - rape/attempted murder
The Turning - murder
The Becoming - sexual assault/attempted murder
It's like Sleeping Beauty syndrome only instead of a kiss on the lips, she gets a punch in the face. I know this is just coincidence that these are the books I've picked out of my TBR pile. And I don't necessarily think it's a worrying trend - as long as it's not gratuitous and is relevant to the plot. It immediately illustrates how dangerous the UF world is to anyone brave/stupid enough to be drawn into it. It also gives the heroine a reason to stay in this frightening world as she seeks either answers or revenge.
I guess there are only a limited number of ways you can gain supernatural powers. Hmmm...let's think:-
Gain them at birth - probably one of the most common.
Inherit them - kind of like an ugly vase that you never wanted but have to accept. Example the Slayer inherits her power (or did).
Steal them (magical objects) - Djinn in Rachel Caine's Weather Warden series.
Sell your soul for them (Faustian pact) - Faust, Georgina Kincaid from Succubus Blues.
Gain them accidentally
Being tricked into getting them - LOL I do have an example for this but it's a spoiler for the book concerned.
Be infected by them - kind of like a sexual disease that you never wanted but have to accept.
I'm not complaining just commenting. I'm also trying to think of a male UF protagonist who gained his powers after being raped and left for dead, I'm sure there must be one, but I'm coming up blank.
25th September 2008
I'm revisiting this post following KMont's (Lurv a la Mode) review of Faefever.
It's been over a year since I posted and I think following the number of UF books I've read in the past year I can reasonably conclude that it was probably less of a coincidence and more of an almost established part of UF.
Nothing against these books, as long as it's organic to the plot, relevant to the situation and not gratuitous I don't have a problem with it. These are heroines who are living in dangerous times. But in case anyone didn't get the sarcasm mode above, there are more ways for a female heroine to become empowered than just the idea that what doesn't kill you makes you stronger.